Saturday, April 20, 2013

We now resume our regularly scheduled program...


The last seven months or so haven't been the easiest for me. Around September or October, I'd noticed some chest discomfort and thought it was from my backpack. I'd shift it to one shoulder and slow down, and the discomfort would subside. This happened to me several times, maybe two or three times a week, and I was getting concerned. Plus my blood sugar numbers had skyrocketed, about 30 to 40 points higher than usual. During a week I had off in November to use for National Novel Writing Month, my doctor had called to schedule some regular blood work to make sure my diabetes and cholesterol medications weren't interfering with anything else. I figured since I was going to the doctor, anyway, I decided I'd see him about the chest discomfort.

That morning, the alarm went off and I got up to hit the snooze button. And it hit me. Hard. It wasn't just discomfort but serious, constricting pain. I didn't know what the hell was going on but it had subsided by the time I had gotten up and was on the way to the bus to get to the doctor. Once there, I rearranged the appointment to include a consultation with my doctor and he set up an EKG along with the blood work. The cardiology specialist didn't like the results of the EKG and scheduled a stress test for later that afternoon. I'd heard about those and had never had one, so I wasn't really ready for the grinding and rubbing of the ultrasound wand against my ribs and sternum.

Once they got the initial readings, I was put on the treadmill and the real fun began. As the test progressed, my blood pressure shot up to 200/116 and I began to have some of the same chest discomfort I'd experienced earlier which led me to mention it to the doctor. Because of that, they cut the treadmill portion short and got the final readings they needed. I went home and got a disturbing call that evening.

The chest pain I'd experienced earlier that morning was a mild heart attack.

I misunderstood what was going on and completed miscommunicated everything to everybody who needed to know what was going on. I didn't realize that I had to be admitted to the hospital that night because the phone kept cutting in and out, so Peter was unnerved when I didn't come home. That, and a healthy dose of denial kept me from believing anything serious at all had happened (in the usual sick sense of humor I've come to expect from the universe, not counting staff, I was the youngest person in the unit.) The food was decent and I was slightly outraged at the miniscule portions, constantly reminding myself I WAS IN THE FUCKING HOSPITAL AND IN THE CARDIAC UNIT SO THEY WERE GOING TO HAVE TO BE MINISCULE. The boredom probably ravaged me the most, however. Since I wasn't clear on what was going on, I didn't even bother to grab my nook on the way to the emergency room, figuring I'd be in and out spit spot. And because of the IV in my hand, I couldn't sleep on my side, like I usually do. Sleeping on my back was incredibly uncomfortable for me, taking two nights to get used to it, which was almost pointless because I was released on the fourth day.

And I had to spend my birthday in the hospital getting an angiogram.

Having type II diabetes, I usually don't need insulin shots but because my blood sugar numbers were so scattered, they became part of my medication regime while I was there. They finally stabilized when the doctor had hoped, so I was released when they'd expected it. The angiogram showed a blocked artery but they didn't put in a stent because two smaller arteries around it were doing the extra work and the cardiologist decided a medication regime would be just as beneficial.

I'm now on a total of NINE prescriptions for diabetes, acid reflux, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and the blocked artery. Of course, the medication for the artery is the only one that's not a generic but the plan from work covers a huge chunk of it. I've also gone through a cardiac rehab program that was recommended by my cardiologist and I'm trying to adhere to most of it. And trying to fight through the biggest, deepest round of guilt, anger, self-hatred, and self-loathing I've ever experienced. I know everything I was doing wrong for myself and to myself, and have incessantly beat myself up over it. Much of it could have been prevented and the severity lessened, sure, but with my medical history it was a case of when I'd develop heart disease. I could give you the complete laundry list but I don't want to bore you.

Along the way, I'd developed issues at the day job. Long story and tl;dr version, I had to get an Americans with Disabilities Act dispensation to move to a more desirable position with much less stress than what I'd been moved to almost a year ago. And other things have suffered, as well. Not-so-important, more "busy work" things. Such as updating this blog and my website. And needing to get some more pictures taken for possible inclusion on my site. And getting some things ready for RT Booklovers Convention, where I'll be in just a smidge over two weeks. (Commence self-loathing and beating self up.) And not beating myself up so much.